Paying the Price


After their success with disrupting women’s participation at public sports events, the religious right in Pakistan is at it again, via the BBC:

Last week the six-party religious alliance that constitutes one-fifth of the country’s parliament, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) introduced a bill in parliament seeking a complete ban on women in advertising.

The article goes on to say that the MMA has not been too successful politically and so is shifting their attention to women, or rather wiping them out from public life. As Mahasweta Devi says, For everything a woman must pay the price.” When one looks at the rate of selective abortions and female infanticide in India, or the targeting of women with sexual violence in Gujrat in 2002, its hard to conclude that it is otherwise.

The easy answers one gets is that the oppression of women has to do with religion (usually Islam), or poverty. But then how does one explain the odd facts of the gender gap in education in South Asia? Largely Muslim Bangladesh is poorer than India or Pakistan, yet they have better gender parity when it comes to education, not only that, their net primary enrollment is higher than India or Pakistan. Unicef has more of these statistics if you like looking at numbers.